Title: Yours, Mine, and Ours
Pairing: H/D, past H/G and D/A mentioned
Rating: PG-13 (overall)
Genre: Au, Romance, Post-Hogwarts/War
Warnings: SS(PS)-DH compliant, EWE, future m-preg, reference and discussion of difficult topics
Word Count: (For this Ch.) 8,031
Disclaimer: HP is not mine. Plot and OCs for this fic are though.
Summary: After his wife leaves him and abandons their children abruptly, Harry doesn't think he or his kids will ever be able to heal. But a chance meeting with an old nemesis and his son in Diagon, various childish schemes, and a little bit of quick upheaval makes Harry realize that just maybe everything isn't as irreparable or dire as he thought.
A/N: Inspired by the classic movies Houseboat (1958) and Yours, Mine, and Ours (1968). I love fics with their kids in them and have never really written one before for this fandom. This idea just came to me while I was watching Houseboat and started flowing like water. I hope you all enjoy this one!
Harry looked out of the kitchen window with a heavy heart. He watched his children sit morosely at the picnic table in the back yard of the Burrow while their cousins played and chased each other through the grass. The cup of tea in his hands had long since gone cold, but he couldn't bring himself to set it down.
"If I had known things had gotten so bad I would have- I don't know, quit or something." He sighed not willing to turn around and face Molly and Arthur.
Molly stepped up beside him and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder. "It wasn't your fault, dear." She said rubbing her cooking and nurturing weathered hands over his back. "You couldn't have known Ginny would do something like this."
He scoffed and lifted an arm to rest it against the cabinet next to the window. "I didn't know cause I was never around." He reminded her self deprecatingly. "I was always on assignment, or at a Ministry function, or -fuck- just not paying attention."
A yelp was wrenched out of him as Molly caught his ear in her deceptively strong hands and yanked. "There will be none of that language in my house, young man. You're not too old to be bent over my knee and don't you forget it!" She let his ear go, but her disapproving frown never left her pretty face.
"Ow." Harry rubbed at his smarting ear, but didn't even consider trying to argue with her. Molly Weasley was a force to reckoned with and if she said she could bend you ever her knee she wouldn't hesitate to do it if she thought you needed it.
"Now, none of us could have ever thought our Ginny would do something like this." She continued her face still angry, but her voice rang with that strength that meant everything was going to be fine and Mother always knows best. Harry just wished he could believe it.
"I don't know were I went wrong with my girl," she continued ignoring the protesting sound from her husband sitting at the table behind them, "but there is no excuse for what she did. Even if she was unhappy, she should have come to me if she felt she couldn't talk to you."
Harry stared at her for a moment, but still couldn't stop placing most of the blame on himself. He should have seen, or been there, or something and maybe none of this would have happened.
"Molly's right, Harry." Arthur finally spoke up. "Despite you being rather absent as of late, what Ginny did was inexcusable. There is nothing that could constitute abandoning her family the way she did." His words cracked with repressed anger and disappointment, and Harry couldn't really blame him.
Ginny had dropped their children off at the Burrow three weeks ago while Harry had been on assignment as British Wizard Ambassador in Egypt with the promise to pick them up in a couple of days. Needless to say she hadn't returned in a couple of days and she hadn't returned in a week. On the second week, when Harry had portkeyed back to the Ministry and flooed home in exhaustion hoping to finally spend some time with his family he'd found the house empty with no sign of habitation for sometime.
It was good thing he hadn't really panicked. Just apparated into the Burrow at two in the morning shouting for Molly and Arthur in a fit of near hysteria thinking his wife and kids had been kidnapped.
Molly and Arthur had sat him down in the kitchen shoved a plate of left overs at him and forced him to drink half a pot of tea before they looked at him with somber, tired faces and began to explain.
Ginny hadn't been heard from for two weeks. None of their sons knew where she could have gone. After questioning the children it had been discovered that not only was this not a surprise, but a rather regular occurrence while Harry was away on assignment. They had told their grandparents about their "Uncle Angelo" that had frequented breakfast when Harry wasn't around and that she was probably with him if she was gone.
Harry had wasted no time and began investigating to find his wife and this Angelo. He had little doubt of what he would find, but he just hoped it had been a misunderstanding. It wasn't.
Four days after sending out Feelers and running Trackers Harry found Ginny Potter and Angelo Gambini lounging mostly naked on a beach in the Virgin Islands.
His children had been basically taking care of themselves in their parents' absence. James had fed his siblings with omelets and cold sandwiches when they didn't floo to the Burrow and lie to Molly and Arthur saying their mother gave them permission. Albus and Lily traded off chores and did their best to keep the house in running order until either Harry returned or Ginny did.
A spike of pain lanced through his heart as he remembered all of this. How could he have been so blind? Or so neglectful himself? He had just assumed that Ginny would care for their children as he would while he was gone.
"How long had this been going on?" He asked into the silence that had descended on the kitchen.
"From what the children told us: a year, perhaps a bit more than that." Arthur answered when Molly suddenly made a distressed noise and turned to the kettle and began fiddling with it idly.
A sigh was pulled away from him and Harry rubbed at his face with his now empty hands. A year he had let his children go through this. A year!
His hands dropped away and his stared out of the kitchen window again just watching his children sadly. "I've already filed for divorce." He stated somewhat coldly considering his wife's parent's were in the kitchen with him. "Gringotts has been informed that Ginny is to have no access to the Potter or Black vaults whatsoever. She'd already nearly drained one of the small vaults while I was away. I won't let her get to anymore of my- the children's money."
Having said this he turned away from the window and looked at his in-laws, his adoptive parents, expecting reproof, outrage, anger. He was met with only sad resignation.
"We understand that it is the right thing to do, Harry." Arthur said quietly. "We just hope that you don't think you are unwelcome in our family after this. You are still our son, if you want to be."
The sudden catch in his throat surprised him. He nodded and blinked away the burning in his eyes. "Thank you."
"Dad?" The three adults looked over to the kitchen door to see James watching them with a sad wary look. "When can we go home?" He asked not meeting his father's eyes, choosing instead to stare at the old tiled floor.
"Oh, sweetheart." Molly rushed over and gathered the sullen boy into her arms. "Wouldn't you like to stay with me and your Grandpa? We could bake cookies and have hot chocolate."
"Molly," Harry interrupted from his place at the kitchen counter. "I think it would be best to take the kids home. They've been away for too long as it is."
"Oh, but Harry-" She was silenced by Arthur's hand on her shoulder.
"That's fine Harry. If you need anything don't hesitate to floo." Arthur urged with an understanding smile on his tired face.
Harry stepped out of the fireplace in his kitchen at Grimmauld Place with Lily on his hip and James and Albus already waiting for him. He looked around at the dusty kitchen and tried not to wrinkle his nose at the smell coming from the rancid dishes stacked in the sink and the thin layer of dust covering every surface. It was times like this when he dearly wished he could have a house-elf.
"Alright, guys. Why don't you go up stairs and get washed up while I..." He glanced around the kitchen again and sighed tiredly. "While I work on getting us some dinner."
None of the kids said anything while the three Potter siblings trudged quietly up the stairs without so much as glance at their father.
He guessed he deserved it for being gone almost half their lives, but that didn't make it hurt any less.
Squeezing his eyes shut he took three deep breaths before he rolled up his sleeves and pulled out his wand. There was only so much he could do without the cleaning supplies Ginny had neglected to restock, but at least he could get the kitchen in working condition before the kids came back down.
The dust had been vanished, the kitchen table wiped down, and the dish pile in the sink soaked and soaped thoroughly before James, Albus, and Lily peaked their heads in nearly an hour later.
Harry glanced over his shoulder and gave them a small smile. "Hey, come on in guys. I ordered Chinese from Wan Fu's so it should be popping through the floo in a bit. Why don't you pull out some plates and silver wear and set the table?"
James moved to the cabinet with the clean dishes while Albus moved to the one with the glasses and Lily pulled the silverware drawer open all without a word. Harry could have banged his head against the counter, their silence upset him so.
How long had it been since he'd really had a meal with his children? Too long. It was almost like he barely knew them now.
He rubbed at his chest with a soapy hand. That thought hurt.
Thirty minutes later Harry abandoned the un-salvageable stew pot in the sink and the take-away was divided four ways.
The children ate in total silence their gazes fixed on their plates and their heads lowered.
It was almost too much for Harry to bear.
"When is Mummy coming home?" Lily asked, her voice muffled with noddles, her pretty hazel-green eyes watching Harry warily.
Before he could answer James did it for him. "Mum's not coming home, Lily." He said dully. "She doesn't want us anymore."
The little girl looked at her brother with sad eyes, but nodded seeming to take this statement as fact.
"You don't want us either." Albus murmured so quietly that Harry nearly didn't catch it.
"What?" He asked in disbelief.
"You don't want us either. You're just here cause you don't have to work. I bet you never wanted us!" He yelled jumping up from his seat and dashing out of the kitchen with an angry red face and flashing emerald green eyes.
"Albus!" He shouted after his youngest son, but couldn't bring himself to chase after him. He sighed and buried his head in his hands.
"Is that true?" Lily asked after minutes of silence, her voice tiny and so sad. "You don't really want us?"
Harry pulled his face up and ran a shaking through his messy hair. "No, sweetie. I do want you. I love you and brothers with all my heart." He told her truthfully, but could tell that she didn't really believe him.
"Whatever." James scoffed before pushing away from the table. "If he really wanted us, Lily, he wouldn't be gone all the time." He told his five year-old sister with the conviction of an all knowing older brother. "Come on, let's go to bed."
She stared at him and nodded morosely before getting up herself and stepping over to take James' hand. "Goodnight, Daddy." She called quietly before they disappeared out of the kitchen.
Harry watched them leave with a ten ton weight on his chest. He'd let things get this way, he realized. With his all consuming work, and his over-seas assignments. There was no one to blame, but himself.
With a heavy sigh, he summoned a bottle of Ogden's Old Firewhiskey wandlessly and cracked the seal. It was going to be a long night.
The next morning Harry sat on his marital bed staring at his open wardrobe wondering to himself whether he could really stand up and grab his business robes, floo over to the Burrow to drop his kids off, then apparate into the Ministry to start another day at work.
It took him a good ten minutes to decided that no, he really couldn't and just tugged on a pair of faded jeans, some beat-up trainers, a t-shirt, and a light spring jacket. No, he really couldn't.
An hour later, Harry Potter flooed into the Ministry with Lily sitting reluctantly on one hip, Albus clasping sullenly to his other hand, and James glaring lethally at him from the other side of his brother. Well, they certainly weren't a happy bunch, were they?
They trudged onto the lifts quietly amidst whispers and murmurs of busybody observers. Five year-old Lily hung onto her father's hand tightly while seven year-old Albus and nine year-old James followed behind quietly.
"Good morning, Potter." Greeted a balding, pot bellied bureaucrat from the other side of the lift. "Terribly sorry to hear about your wife, lad. Bad business that. And she was so pretty too. Guess us good old English thoroughbreds can't compete with the those Italian stallions, eh?" He chortled mightily to himself.
Harry grabbed onto James's shoulder before the young boy could launch himself at the older man and squeezed warningly. "Thank you, Peters. Do be so kind as to inform me when your wife finally decides to leave you for that French wizard she's been shagging behind your back. We can discuss it crudely and publicly in front of your children so that they can hear all the sordid details from someone else's lips." He said coldly.
The lift doors opened and Harry ushered his embarrassed and shamed kids out of the small compartment leaving a sputtering Peters and several speechless Ministry officials behind them.
He had never wanted to curse someone so much in his life than he did at that moment seeing the flushed, humiliated faces of his children. But that wouldn't help them. In truth he didn't know what would help them.
Keeping a tight hold on Lily's hand and checking over his shoulder to make sure Albus and James were still behind him, Harry lead the way to the Minister's office at the end of the hall and passed by the flustered secretary without even a glance. He wouldn't be there long anyway.
"Kingsley." He greeted curtly.
"Harry." The dark man greeted back in surprise. "What do I owe this pleasant surprise?" He asked, eyes flitting from each child's sullen face then back to their father's.
"I thought I would hand in my resignation personally." Harry answered still standing in front of the Minister of Magic's desk.
Kingsley Shacklebolt sighed resignedly and nodded. "And I can't try and convince you otherwise, can I?" He asked rather hopefully.
Harry just shook his head. "I'm sorry, Kingsley, but no. I- I need to work on somethings. Maybe when I get everything sorted." He shrugged watching James kick at the blue carpeting from the corner of his eye.
"That's alright, Harry." Kingsley waved off his apology. "Take all the time you need, but remember there's always a place for you here at the Ministry if you want to come back." The tall dark man stood from behind his desk and held out a hand for him to shake.
Harry took it with a small thankful smile. "Thanks, Kingsley. I appreciate it."
"Don't mention it." He said and watched as his best ambassador walked out of his office door followed by three of the saddest looking kids he'd ever seen. Sighing he fell back into his expensive leather chair and hoped with all his heart that everything would work out for them.
Harry flooed the kids to Diagon Alley with a mind to buy them some ice cream and hopefully start to reconnect with them. He stubbornly ignored the fact that he shouldn't have to reconnect with them at all.
They made it to Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour and four sundaes and a small table on the outside patio later Harry was watching his children pick at their melting ice cream sullenly. He sighed.
"Did Mummy really run away with an-an 'Italian Stallion'?" Lily asked drawing a few scandalized looks from the two old biddies at the next table.
Harry ignored them. "Your mum didn't run away with an 'Italian Stallion', sweetie." He said wishing fervently he didn't have to try and explain this.
"Don't lie!" Albus shouted suddenly drawing the attention of nearly everyone on the patio. "Mum did run away! She ran away from us!"
"Albus," Harry frowned at his raven headed, messy haired son. "Do not shout at me. And I did not lie."
"Yes you did!" He accused, not caring one jot how much attention he was garnering. "You lied! Mum ran away cause she didn't want us and it's all your fault!"
"Albus!" Harry shouted, but it was too late. The angry little boy had already shoved away from the table and dashed off the patio literally disappearing into the milling crowds in the Alley.
He cursed and rubbed angrily at his face with shaking hands.
"Great going, Dad." James sneered from across the table still poking at his melted ice cream.
"Not another word, James." Harry warned. "Not another word."
Albus weaved in and out of people as he ran as far away from his father as he could. Angry tears streamed down his face, but he kept going until he bounced off of a portly wizard and tumbled to the ground.
"Oi! Watch where you're going, young man!" The man yelled at him as Albus struggled to his feet his hands burning from where they broke his fall and got skinned on the cobbles of the Alley.
He sobbed in pain and fear realizing that he didn't have any idea where he was and looked around frantically for someplace to hide. To his right he saw a bright store front with trinkets and shiny things in the window. He darted for it and pushed the door open hurriedly shutting it behind him hard making the bell above it jingle shrilly.
Albus leaned against the smooth red painted door taking deep heaving breaths. His heart was pounding madly in his chest and his stomach was turning sickly in his belly. He'd yelled at his dad in front tons of people and now he was lost.
"Hey, are you okay?" A voice asked from his left.
Jumping in surprise, Albus spun around and rubbed furiously at his teary face with the backs of his bleeding hands. "What?" He croaked.
"I said, are you okay?" The little boy with silvery blond hair and gray eyes asked again in concern. He was dressed in nice clean robes and he inched closer to Albus apprehensively, his brow furrowing. "Why are you crying?"
"'M not!" He exclaimed. Albus sniffled miserably, and turned his head to dry his runny nose on the shoulder of his blue striped t-shirt. "'M not crying." He repeated.
The other boy's pert nose scrunched in disgust and he dug in his pocket to pull out a crisp white monogrammed handkerchief. "Here," he held it out to the messy snuffly thing in front of him. "My dad always says it's bad manners to wipe your nose on your sleeve."
Albus stared at the handkerchief warily for a moment before he took it and blew his nose in it. Done cleaning up his face he sniffled one last time and held the handkerchief back out to the blond boy.
He just scrunched his nose again and shook his hand at him. "That's okay. You can keep it. I've got tons. My dad had them made for me for Christmas." He said with a small smile.
Albus smiled back and stuffed the snotty cloth into the pocket of his jeans. "Thanks."
"My name's Scorpius." The little boy said holding out his hand to shake.
Reaching for it, he smiled. "I'm Albus."
Just as they were about to clasp hands Scorpius glanced down at them and gasped. "You're bleeding!" He exclaimed. "Come on, we gotta get my dad to fix it."
"What?" Albus didn't have any time to protest more than that because Scorpius snagged him under the elbow and began tugging to the back of the store.
Albus glanced around and saw that the shelves were filled all sorts of different things. Potion bottles, colorful candles, tins of candies and cookies, charmed jewelry, and things he didn't even recognize.
"Dad!" Scorpius yelled when the reached the counter at the back of the store and continued tugging Albus around behind it. "Dad!"
"What!" A man yelled from behind an ajar door in what appeared to be a back room. "Scorpius, what is it?"
"He skinned his hands, Dad!" Scorpius explained none too helpfully coming to a stop just behind the counter. "You have to fix it!"
"What?" The unseen man yelled back again sounded incredulous. "Who skinned his hands, Scorpius?"
Scorpius gave a long suffering sigh and Albus couldn't help, but giggle a little at him despite his sudden nervousness. "Albus, Dad!" The boy called back.
"Wha-?" The voice cut off then the door to the back room swung open to reveal a tall silvery blond man that looked almost exactly like Scorpius right down to his gray eyes and pert nose. "Albus?" He asked looking from his son to the little boy standing nervously behind him.
"Dad, this is Albus." Scorpius introduced with a smile. "He just came into the shop and he skinned his hands."
Draco stared down at the little boy nearly speechless. He knew exactly who this kid was. Well, he hadn't known his name, but he sure as shit knew who he belonged to. Those bright green eyes, that messy hair, that stubborn chin. There was only one place you could get all of that.
Shaking himself, he looked the boy up and down and saw immediately that he had been crying in the very recent past. Putting away his shock at seeing Harry Potter's son in his store, Draco stepped forward and crouched down to eye level with the shy little boy.
"You're Albus, eh?" He asked with a small reassuring smile on his face.
That messy head nodded once. "Yes, sir."
Draco almost chuckled. At least this kid was a hell of a lot cuter and well mannered than his father. He stood up and pulled the stool out from under the cash register. "Alright, Albus. since you've already met my son, I'll introduce myself, shall I?" He asked wryly. "I'm Draco Malfoy, this is my shop you've stumbled upon. Let's get you seated up here, so I can take a look at your hands, okay?"
Albus nodded and let Draco lift him under the arms and seat him on the tall stool behind the counter.
"Let's see those hands, now." He coaxed examining them gently when the little boy presented them palms up. He hissed in sympathy. "These don't look like they feel good." He commiserated. "How did you skin them?"
"I bumped into someone and fell." Albus mumbled shyly. Scorpius's Dad seemed really nice, but he was also intimidating. He looked proper and- and rich. He looked at the blond man's fancy robes and traced the embroidery with his eyes.
"That must have been some fall." Draco sympathized. "These aroe going to need to be cleaned before I can put the healing salve on them, alright?" He pulled out his wand, but waited for the little boy to nod before beginning.
"This is going to sting a little." He cautioned then murmured a handy scrape cleaning spell his mother had used on him in his childhood. Albus whimpered a little when the spell touched over his palms, but held perfectly still otherwise. "Perfect." Draco praised with a smile, that was returned timidly.
He turned around to the shelves of potions and salves behind the counter and snatched one off the stack. Unscrewing the little tin he dipped his fingers into it and steadied one of the little hands with his before rubbing the opaque cream over the abraded skin.
"This shouldn't take, but a minute to start working. You'll need to hold your hands still 'til your scrapes mend themselves then we can wipe you off and you're done." He explained as he covered the other hand expertly.
"Dad's healing potions are the best." Scorpius informed Albus from where he stood next to the stool watching. "He always heals me up every time I get hurt."
"Yes, which is much too often, you clumsy child of mine." Draco said with a raised eyebrow before leaning over and pinching his son playfully in the ribs making both boys giggle.
Turning back to Albus's hand's Draco looked them over again before pulling his own handkercheif from his pocket and wiping the salve away. "You're all done, Albus. Check them over and tell me if I missed a spot."
Albus examined his hands in amazement then turned those huge green eyes on Draco. "They're great, Mr. Malfoy. Thank you!"
Draco waved him off with a smirk. "Don't worry about it, kid. Just one more happy customer, eh? Hey, Scorpius. Why don't you take Albus to the back room and stuff him with those cookies your Grandmama forced on us this morning?"
"Okay, Dad!" The boy chirped and yanked Albus off the stool and pulled him toward the back room. "My Grandmama makes the best sugar cookies, ever!" He enthused exaggeratedly, making Draco chuckle quietly to himself as he watched his son drag Potter's son away.
The kid seemed alright, Draco figured, from the all of ten minutes he'd spent in the kid's company. A little quiet maybe, but polite and cute as any little boy is at that age. What on earth was the kid doing in his store alone?
Shaking his head, Draco resigned himself to waiting until Potter himself showed or closing time when he could take the boy home himself.
Harry spent the whole of the afternoon on the floo with Aurors, the Burrow, and Ministry trying to hunt down his son. After spending hours searching up and down Diagon Alley to no avail, he'd finally given up and taken James and Lily home to resume the search.
"Yes, I'm sure he's lost!" He shouted at the incompetent in the Department for Missing and Lost Children. "Seven hours, you asshole! My son has been missing for seven hours, and if you're not even going to try looking then I will have your fucking ass fired, Goddamnit!"
"What do you mean I don't have the authority?" He raged indignantly. "I'm Harry Fucking Potter, you twat! Don't you dare think for one second I won't floo Minister Shacklebolt right now and tell him what a fucking load of-"
Harry pulled his head out of the fireplace in surprise. "That fucker hung up on me." He said in bemusement. That's it, he was so fire-calling Kingsley now.
"Daddy, it's not good to say those words." Lily pipped up tentatively from behind him.
He sighed and ran a hand through his ashy hair. "I know, baby, but I'm very upset and I forget that those words aren't good to say when I'm upset."
"Whatever." Scoffed James. "You probably don't even want to find Albus. One less kid to worry about."
"That is enough!" Harry bellowed making both his children jump, his voice ringing off of walls in the kitchen.
"I have had enough of your attitude, James Sirius Potter! If you think you are the only one affected by your mother leaving then you are sorely mistaken. I am sorry I have not been here for you and your brother and sister like I should have, but there is nothing I can do for that now. I am your father like it or not and we have to work as a family to get through this. And if I hear one more unhelpful word out of your mouth you are grounded for a month. Do I make myself clear?" He stared into his son's angry sullen hazel eyes partially covered by a fall of auburn hair.
"Do I make myself clear?" He repeated calmer, but just as angry.
"Yes, sir." James grumbled through clinched teeth before he turned on his heel and stormed out of the kitchen and up the stairs to his room.
Sighing, Harry rubbed at his eyes tiredly and fell back on his butt on the kitchen floor. He heard a miserable sniffle from the general direction of his daughter and could have kicked himself.
Lifting his head he felt his heart break a little more at the sight of his daughter's auburn hair falling into her flushed tear stained face.
"Aw, Lily, sweetie. I'm sorry. Did I scare you?" He asked wretchedly. She just sobbed and nodded her head keeping her face turned down. "Jeez, baby, I'm sorry. I didn't want to scare you." Standing up, he held his arms out to her. "Come on, Lily. Please stop crying."
She gave a great heave of breath and sobbed once more before flying into her daddy's arms and clutching at him like her life depended on it. Harry lifted her off the floor and wrapped his arms around her. Latching onto him like a starfish, Lily locked her legs around his waist and squeezed his neck in a near choke hold. Burying her face in his neck he finally began to bawl brokenly.
Blowing out a breath, Harry just stood in his kitchen and held onto her as tight as he dared. "I'm sorry, baby. Shh, it's okay." He kept saying hoping she would stop breaking his heart with her tears.
"I miss Mummy!" She sobbed into his skin and his slumped a little. "Why won't she come back? I don't want her to go!"
"I know." He soothed, and he did. "I miss your mother too." Not in the way he should: as a husband should miss his wife. He missed her in the way a father misses the mother of his children. And he couldn't be more angry with her for abandoning his children. "I don't know why she left, baby. If I did I would tell you, I promise."
Lily gave another great sob that shook her little body and made Harry scared she was going to hyperventilate. "I don't want you to go, either!" She confessed tears still soaking his neck and shoulder. "Please don't leave too."
If he ever saw Ginny again, she was so dead. Harry closed his eyes and prayed for some strength then walked from the kitchen and into the family sitting room with Lily still wrapped around him. He sat down gingerly on one of the plushy sofa's he'd furnished the room with and began rubbing Lily's back soothingly.
"I won't leave, Lily." He promised with such conviction. "I promise. You and your brothers are the most important things in my life. I wouldn't leave you for the world."
She unburied her face enough to look at him with bloodshot hazel eyes, he met them head on. "You promise?" She asked with catching breaths.
"I promise, sweetheart." He kissed her forehead and stroked a hand over her long auburn hair. "I promise."
Just then the door bell to number 12 Grimmauld Place gave a rusty chime. Harry looked up in confusion. Nobody that knew where he lived ever came to the front door; they always flooed into the kitchen or apparated at the back door.
Standing up, Harry shifted Lily to his left hip freeing one arm. "Let's see who's at the door."
He unlocked the deadbolt and pulled the door open only to blink dumbly at the sight on porch.
Draco Malfoy noted that Potter had matured well, even the red headed starfish attached to his side looked good on him. He gave his old school rival a smirk and drawled, "Good evening, Potter. I believe this belongs to you."
Harry stared dumbstruck as Malfoy urged a shamefaced Albus out from behind his legs and gave him a light push forward. "Albus?"
His son, shrank away from him, peeked up through his messy black bangs. "Hi Dad."
"Don't 'hi dad' me!" Harry scolded just now realizing how utterly worried he had been. The thought of losing Albus, any of his children, had made his heart shrivel. "Where on earth have you been? I've been worried sick. I called the Aurors, and the Minister, and your Aunt Hermione."
With that last one, Albus looked up horror plain all over his face. "No, not Aunt Hermione!"
"Yes." He said feeling no sympathy with the lecture his son was going to get from his aunt next time they saw her. "I called everywhere. I was worried sick. How could you just run off in the middle of Diagon Alley like that?"
"Come on, Potter. Don't be so hard on the kid." Draco chided, interrupting the father son scolding. "He spent most of the afternoon stuffing his face with cookies at my shop with Scorpius. Nothing happened to him. He's perfectly fine. No reason to sick Granger on the poor boy."
Harry turned his eyes from his red faced son to the old school rival on his front steps just remembering that they had an audience. It was then that he noticed the little blond boy standing on the other side of Malfoy staring at him with something akin to awe.
Shaking his head, he looked back at Malfoy incredulously. "Excuse me?"
Rolling his eyes, Draco placed a hand each on Albus and Scorpius's backs propelling them forward and into the front entry, herding Harry and his starfish Lily in the process.
"Let's discuss this inside, Potter. The muggles are starting to stare. Of course, you would live in a muggle neighborhood." Draco scoffed and closed the door behind him as if he owned the place.
Harry sputtered, in indignation or surprise he couldn't decide. "Malfoy, what are you-?"
"Coming inside, Potter. Honestly you are a terribly host, you know that?" Draco interrupted before he could even answer. "Why don't you introduce me to this beautiful young lady barnacled onto your side?"
Lily lifted her head from Harry's shoulder and gave him a small shy smile. "Hi." She said softly with a tiny sniffle.
"Well, hello there." He beamed at her. "Aren't you just lovely? A bit flushed and snuffly I'd say, but lovely nonetheless. Here honey, blow." He produced another handkerchief from out of nowhere and held it up to her nose gently. She gave a great little girl blow and he scrunched his own nose at her in amusement before pulling the cloth away and wiping up the rest of the snot from her upper lip.
"There. Much better, wouldn't you say? Now, my dear, what is your name?" He asked with a charming smile as he slipped the snotty handkerchief back into a pocket.
She blushed and giggled. "I'm Lily." She declared shyly.
"That is a lovely name. Named after such a pretty flower; fitting for such a pretty girl." Draco said smoothing a hand over her tear dampened hair and tucking it behind her ear. "My mother is named after a flower as well, you know."
"Really?" Lily asked, her eyes wide and riveted on him.
"Oh yes." He declared wisely. "Her name is Narcissa after the Narcissus flower."
"That's my Grandmama." Pipped in Scorpius from around the vicinity of Draco's hip.
Dropping a hand to his son's head, Draco smiled down at him. "Why don't you introduce yourself?"
The little boy glanced from his dad to Albus's dad and Lily. "I'm Scorpius." He said giving her a smile and a wave.
Draco clapped his hands and beamed all around. "Wonderful, now that everyone is introduced, Albus why don't you show Scorpius your room?" He leaned toward Lily with his hands up and snagged her under the arms before Harry could even think to protest and lifted her away.
"You're even prettier when you're not glued to your dad." He chuckled at her charming blush and set her on the floor with her brother and Scorpius. "Now you three run up stairs and play while us adults have a chat, alright. Come and get us in the kitchen if you need anything." He instructed before ushering the children toward the stairs and grabbing Harry by the arm and dragging him down the hall toward the kitchen steps.
Harry had no time to protest or take exception to being ordered around in his own home, he could only blink and feel like Malfoy had rolled through his home like a freight train.
If Draco remembered correctly the kitchen should be down here... Ah! There it is. He pulled Potter down the steps and shoved him at the kitchen table. Turning toward the cooking area he stared incomprehensibly at the cabinets and stove before giving up and shouting for a Malfoy Manor house-elf.
"Yes, Master Draco?" A short terry clothed house-elf asked, her wide eyes staring up at Draco from the floor of the strange kitchen.
"Fix us some tea, then return to your regular duties." He waved her on and turned back to find Potter sitting at the table with his forehead planted on it and his arms hanging loosely at his sides.
"Potter?" He asked as he moved forward and pulled out another chair to sit in. "Are you alright, Potter?"
He got a snort and a halfhearted grumbled in answer before Harry dragged his head up and threw his arms over the wooden table top. "No, I'm not." He clarified.
Draco blew at the blond bangs that fell into his eyes and leaned back in his chair crossing his legs. "No, I don't suppose you would be."
Harry chuckled mirthlessly and covered his face with this hands not bothering to remove his elbows from the table. "God. What the fuck are you doing here, Malfoy?"
"Oh, you mean besides returning your missing son?" Draco asked sarcastically, pouring himself a cup of tea his house-elf had levitated over to the table.
"Fuck. Thank you." Potter sighed and let his hands fall away so he could looked Draco in the face. "I'm sorry. I should have said that before. Thank you, for bringing him back. How did you find him?"
"He just popped into my shop." Draco shrugged sipping at his sugared tea. "Scorpius discovered him crying by the front door and dragged him behind the counter yelling at me to fix the poor kid's skinned hands."
"Skinned hands?" Harry asked with a concerned frown. "What happened?"
Malfoy poured another cup of tea and pushed it toward him. "He bumped into someone and fell. Nothing a little Scrape Salve couldn't cure. Then I let Scorpius load him full of sugar and brought him home after I closed up for the day." He explained.
Harry nodded and didn't feel he had the energy to even question that Malfoy had a shop. "Well, thanks." He repeated softly pouring some milk into his tea. "I've been searching for him all afternoon. I don't know what I would have done if he'd-" His voice faltered and he just lifted the cup to his lips and sipped.
They sat in silence for a time before Draco set his tea down and turned to him with a serious look on his face. "Potter, I know it's not any of my business, but I like Albus, he's a good kid."
Harry smiled wanly in agreement. Albus was a good kid.
"Why was he running around Diagon Alley alone?" Draco finished with a concerned frown.
He sighed heavily and leaned back in his seat, his fingers twirling his tea cup idly. "He got upset with me at Fortescue's." Harry admitted. "Shouted at me in front of half the Alley then bolted. You know a boy his size just disappears in a crowd of people."
Draco nodded understandingly. He'd had some scares with Scorpius too. It was near impossible to find a child that didn't want to be found.
"I take it they haven't been taking Ginevra's absence well?" He inquired neutrally.
A mirthless, self deprecating laugh was forced from Harry's lungs before he could stop it. "God. You heard about that?"
"It was kind of hard not to." He shrugged. "It was on the front page of the Prophet earlier this week."
Potter groaned miserably and tilted his head back to stare at his kitchen ceiling blankly. "I hate the fucking Prophet."
"Yes, well." Draco snorted in a little amusement. "Don't we all."
Harry laughed again before lifting his head again and running a hand through his perpetually messy hair. "Yeah, you could say they're not taking it well. They're not taking me well, either."
"How do you mean?" He asked with a confused frown.
Did he really want to spill his guts to a man he hadn't spoken to in, maybe, ten years? An old school rival that up until ten minutes ago he couldn't have held a civil conversation with to save his life? Yes, apparently he did.
"I haven't been around all that much since I quit the Aurors and became an Ambassador." He admitted. "It takes me away for weeks at a time, sometimes months, and when I'm actually home..." He trailed off with a shrug. "I didn't realize things had gotten so bad here until I came home a week ago to find that the house abandoned, the kids had been staying at the Weasleys', and Ginny hadn't been heard from for three weeks."
A bark, an ugly unhappy sound, fell from his lips trying to imitate laughter. "I should be glad she dropped the kids off with her parents before she grabbed the first international portkey available and hightailed it with her lover."
Draco blew out a breath and tried to process this new information. He'd never liked the littlest Weasley, but he wouldn't have pegged her for the kind of woman that would do something like this. But then again, isn't this pretty much what his own wife had done?
"And the kids?" He asked.
Shaking himself, Potter turned his head and stared off toward the cooking area blankly. "James is... very unhelpful. He'd been taking the most responsibility for his siblings while his mother and I were gone, and I reckon he would be just as happy to go on doing that without any help from me. Albus is amazingly angry. From the few times he's actually spoken it was mainly to yell at me. He is fully aware that this is all my fault. And Lily..." he trailed off and looked back at Malfoy who was watching him with an unreadable look on his face. "Lily just keeps asking me these questions that I can't- that I have no idea how to answer."
They sat in silence for a time before Harry finally asked, "What are you doing here, Malfoy?" Realizing that his boyhood rival was having tea in his kitchen acting as his confessor. "Why do you care?"
Draco looked back at him searching for anger or any sign of incredulity. He found only curiosity and mild distrust. "I don't know, honestly." He answered truthfully enough. "All I know is that you've got the shit end of the stick and I found a teary little boy in my shop with bloody hands that my son has latched onto like a Devil's Snare."
Harry snorted at that, finding it quite amusing despite their earlier topic of discussion. "So your son, Scorpius, found my Albus."
"It would appear so." Draco nodded. "And plied the boy with homemade cookies and nonstop chatter. Albus is a good kid, Potter."
The compliment meant a lot to him surprisingly since it came from an ex-enemy. "Thanks. Scorpius seems like a good kid, as well."
"Oh, he is." Draco agreed not in the least bit humbly. "He's got Mother and Father wrapped around his little fingers."
Harry grinned at that amusing imagery. He couldn't see Lord Lucius Malfoy wrapped around anyone's finger, but he supposed if it was going to be possible it might as well be the old bastard's grandson that did the wrapping.
"Daddy?" Lily's little voice chimed from the kitchen doorway.
The two men turned to see the little girl standing nervously in the doorway.
"Yeah, sweetie?" Harry asked getting up from his seat to walk towards his daughter.
"I'm tired. Can you tuck me in?" She asked apprehensively.
A quick glance at the clock showed that it was indeed the kids' bedtime. "Sure, baby." He smiled at her and bent to lift her into his arms wrapping an arm underneath her bottom to keep her in place.
Draco smiled at the sight, remembering not too long ago when his son would beg him to be picked up and carried everywhere. "Well, Potter I guess that's my cue to get going. It's about Scorpius's bedtime as well." He stood up and straightened his robes.
"You don't have to leave, Malfoy." Harry said surprising himself that he actually meant it. In all the years they'd known each other they'd never had a kind word to say and this one day, this one disastrous ulcer inducing day, they have a civil conversation and their children bond.
Draco waved him off with a hand and strode toward the little auburn starfish attached to him once again. "It was a pleasure to meet you, Miss Lily." He smiled at her.
A shy blush stained her cheeks and she ducked her face mumbling, "You too, Mr. Malfoy."
Chuckling he leaned forward and placed a kiss on her fiery head stroking a hand over her hair again. "You are a charmer, darling. Be sure to keep your dad on his toes, alright?" He grinned at her, his eyes gaining an extra mischievous sparkle when Potter snorted at that.
The three of them strode out of the kitchen to the bottom of the stairs leading up.
"Scorpius!" Draco called hoping his voice would carry in the monstrous wizards space that was the Most Ancient and Noble House of Black. "It's time to go, kid."
"Aw, but Dad!" A little voice protested from somewhere above.
"Nope! It's bedtime. Say goodnight to Albus and get your tushie down here." Draco shouted back with practice that made Harry raise an eyebrow. Who would have though that Malfoy would make such an -accomplished- father? Or would have ever deigned to utter the word tushie?
There was a thundering of little feet and Albus and Scorpius stampeded down the stairs nearly tumbling over each other.
"Say goodnight, love. It's time to leave." Draco instructed again.
Scorpius heaved a long suffering sigh and turned to his new friend. "Goodnight Albus. I had fun today."
Harry had the very surreal experience of watching his shy and often times withdrawn son blush with pleasure and grab the other little boy up in a tight hug.
"Me too." He agreed and released Scorpius to clasp his hands bashfully behind his back and scuff a shoe at the hard wood floor. "I hope we can play again sometime."
Draco raised an amused eyebrow at Harry who acknowledged the look with one of utter surprise. Taking the initiative, Draco carded a hand through his son's hair affectionately and began steering him toward the door.
"Scorpius can come play anytime, Albus. As long as your dad's okay with it. You know how to floo, don't you Potter?" He drawled at Harry mischievously. "I'm sure even you can figure out how to owl, as well." He added just for old time's sake and walked to the front entry with his son's hand in his.
Draco looked back at Potter's bright green eyes and grinned. "Don't be a stranger, Potter." He said before there was a sharp crack of apparation and both Malfoys were gone.
Harry stood with his two youngest children staring at their empty entryway feeling distinctly as if he'd been railroaded once again.